Monday, June 22, 2009

Java Swing Developer converting to Web Applications Developer

Ok, so for 10+ years I've been cranking out (mostly) Java code, along with a couple of other languages (some VB, Delphi, C++, Lingo, Actionscript). I got this great job two years ago with lead responsibilities building a set of java desktop applications. Then the project ended (as expected) and I was asked to become a web developer. A great opportunity, and my boss is fantastic -- really really supportive of my learning processes. So I'm starting this blog to share the things that I've learned so it will be easier for the last 20 (desktop only) Java developers out there.

  1. Web Architecture is really different from desktop architectures. For one thing, it is all about picking which "framework" to use. In the desktop world we had a lot of fun creating our own, on the web, you've gotta use an existing framework. Expect to spend a lot of time grokking these architectures and getting up to speed.
  2. Java is only one small part of your toolkit (unless you use Google Toolkit, which I'm contemplating).
  3. You'll need to learn modern Javascript, AJAX, Stripes or Struts (more common), no-table html (use div's) and general JSP coding.
  4. Next you need to understand which of these different systems knows what when. Context is everything. You might have thought your JSP knew about an object, but it doesn't, ditto for Java.
  5. Iterations are typically shorter than for desktop
  6. And remember to test in multiple browsers...
Next up, ... useful links for a bunch of technologies.

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